From a Gamer’s Basement

Another week and another column from me. Iâ┚¬â”žÂ¢m settling into quite a groove here, and so far I like it. I think From a Gamerâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s Basement is catching on a tiny bit, as a few of you have taken the time to e-mail me with some comments, and I really appreciate the effort that is being made. So, anyways, onwards to this weeks topic of choice. I thought we would take a little trip down memory lane and take a deeper look at the guilty pleasure theme that I focused on a few columns back when I reviewed Jet Force Gemini. I got a few decent responses from that piece so I figured why not expand on it a bit and make a list of sorts that gives you a little insight into my gaming world. Guilty Pleasure games are usually games that are panned by most critics as being lacking, mediocre, or outright horrible. What then sets them apart is the fact that you still enjoy them immensely despite all the criticism. You enjoy them so much that you openly risk gaming ridicule by playing even when you KNOW there is better out there. Oh yes, I have to say this is my favorite niche of gaming. Hell, I define guilty pleasure games as their own massive genre. Any genre of game can fall under this category. To some a title like Final Fantasy VII is a guilty pleasure game. Iâ┚¬â”žÂ¢ll be the first to admit the story is rehashed, lacking, and the game itself is no where near the level of quality most gamerâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s make it out to be. However, that does not mean I still havenâ┚¬â”žÂ¢t played it, beaten it, enjoyed it, and went back for more. Call me weak, but some games just have the guilty pleasure factor that sucks me in every time. So I think Iâ┚¬â”žÂ¢ll make this a two week ordeal. This week numbers ten through six are going to be listed, and next week (obviously) weâ┚¬â”žÂ¢ll do five through one.

10. Doom 64

Oh wow. I had completely forgotten about this little Doom title until I decided to sit down and write this column. You never hear too much about this game. Thereâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s a reason for that: It wasnâ┚¬â”žÂ¢t very good. It was nice looking sure, but the game play was average at best, as was the multi-player mode, the sound, and everything else. Hell, I donâ┚¬â”žÂ¢t even like the Doom series that much. Yet I still have this, and when I thought about it I unpacked it from a box in my closet and played it for a solid half hour and found myself loving it just like I did back when it first came out. People called me crazy. Well, yeah, I knew that already. I canâ┚¬â”žÂ¢t place my finger on what it is about this game that sets it apart in my mind. There are much better FPS games on the Nintendo 64. The system itself was known for some of the best FPS games ever, and yet I keep coming back to this one (and of course Jet Force Gemini) when I have Goldeneye, Perfect Dark, and others sitting around collecting dust. I canâ┚¬â”žÂ¢t give you a rational explanation. There is just something about this game that calls out to me to play it, and I do. And I enjoy it. The PC Dooms are infinitely better, Iâ┚¬â”žÂ¢ll admit that right off the bat. Yet I NEVER play them. Never even enjoyed them. This is the one Doom title that did it for me. God help me, but Iâ┚¬â”žÂ¢d take this game over some of the greatest N64 games in a heartbeat.

9. Solomonâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s Quest (Gameboy)

I think the collective response to this selection is: â┚¬Å”Huh?â┚¬Â Chances are most of you have never even heard of this game. A puzzle game which came out for the GBA over ten years ago still holds itâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s luster for me. Itâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s a poor manâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s Bubble Bobble: an ugly, insanely difficult, and pointless puzzle game that will have you screaming in roughly five minutes. You play as a character named Solomon and all you do is go through level of level getting a key and opening doors. Did I mention itâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s insanely difficult? When I say that I mean you literally want to pound your Gameboy (big clunky thing that it was) off of a wall, making ape like sounds as you do. After like three levels the game decides youâ┚¬â”žÂ¢ve learned enough and kicks itself into very hard mode, and then youâ┚¬â”žÂ¢re pretty much screwed. Now granted after 10 years of off and on playing Iâ┚¬â”žÂ¢ve developed a knack for this little â┚¬Å”gemâ┚¬Â, but that doesnâ┚¬â”žÂ¢t change the fact that this game is as horrible as it gets. So horrible that I love it to pieces and would NEVER part with it. I love good puzzle games. This is not a good puzzle game. This makes even the worst puzzle game look like solid gold. That is exactly why this is a guilty pleasure.

8. Killer Instinct (SNES)

I may get some flack here, because Iâ┚¬â”žÂ¢m sure there are still some KI fans out there that really loved this game and felt it was a superb example of what a fighter should be. Of course those people are insane, but thatâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s irrelevant. I doubt Iâ┚¬â”žÂ¢m much saner for knowing this is a very poor fighter, yet still loving it without condition. What was it about KI? It didnâ┚¬â”žÂ¢t have the pure gaming bliss of Street Fighter games, or the novelty of Mortal Kombat games. It didnâ┚¬â”žÂ¢t do anything all that well when you come right down to it. Still it holds a soft spot in my heart. Many a night were spent with my friends at one of our houses having gaming marathons, and Killer Instinct always made its way into the console. We all hated it, thought Mortal Kombat games put it to shame, and yet we were helpless in the end. This game just barely makes Guilty Pleasure status really. I mean letâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s face it: In itâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s time it was a hugely popular franchise in both the arcades and on home consoles. Only now, when we look back, do I realize how bad it really was. But, just like the others, I still have it, still play it, and just the weekend got a groan from a friend of mine who walked in on my playing it.

7. Gundam: Battle Assault (Playstation)

No, this isnâ┚¬â”žÂ¢t the game I recently reviewed for the GBA. This one appeared on the Playstation, and really is almost as bad as the one I have reviewed. So why do I like this one so much, and loathe the other? I donâ┚¬â”žÂ¢t know. Iâ┚¬â”žÂ¢ve tried to come up with a reason, or some kind of explanation that makes you understand, but I canâ┚¬â”žÂ¢t. Suffice to say the novelty of playing as some of my favorite Gundams from the many series was enough for me back then. Sadly this is one of my guilty pleasures I donâ┚¬â”žÂ¢t have anymore. I got weak and traded it in. Maybe distance does make the heart grow fonder, because I really do miss this absolute abortion of a game. I regret trading it in, and if I ever see a used copy of it Iâ┚¬â”žÂ¢ll snap it up in a heartbeat. But none of that changes the fact that this game is appallingly bad. It has unbalanced characters, poor controls, horrible sound, and graphics that arenâ┚¬â”žÂ¢t up to the Playstationâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s best performance. Yet none of that mattered while I was actually playing it. I was just saying, â┚¬Å”Holy crap! Iâ┚¬â”žÂ¢m playing as (insert Gundam name here) from (insert series title here)!â┚¬Â

6. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fall of the Foot Clan (Gameboy)

This is one of the earlier turtles games and it came on the original Gameboy. I was a pretty big TNMT fan back in my pre-teen days, so naturally I had to have this game. I donâ┚¬â”žÂ¢t know why I loved it so much, or why I still do. Itâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s basic, outdated, and utterly a breeze to complete in no time at all. But it has all the enemies I loved! Krang, Shredder, Baxter, Rocksteady, and BeBop! Plus I got to play as any TMNT I wanted to and destroy countless foot soldiers in the process. At the time it really didnâ┚¬â”žÂ¢t get much more appealing than this. And while time may have not treated this game all that well, it still comes in at number six for me, because every now and again I canâ┚¬â”žÂ¢t fight the urge. Iâ┚¬â”žÂ¢ll spend the half hour it takes to complete this game, and remember why I enjoyed it so much. Itâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s not often you can have a piece of your childhood at your disposal, and that is exactly what this is for me.

Right then, thatâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s it for this week. Next week Iâ┚¬â”žÂ¢ll have the top five for everyone. Be sure to catch me next week when I get a brand new From a Gamerâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s Basement out to ya.